Wednesday, January 13, 2010
“Never Thought You Knew”
“Never Thought You Knew” (part 1)
It’s a cold morning, brisk winter winds celebrating leaves, colored, their time spent now, fluttering about in their transition to decay. They picked a simple demise, while the tree continues on, each leaf having done its small part in keeping it alive, for some time to come.
Meaghan is glad the sun is out, making her travel bearable. The old Plymouth has a heater that cuts in and out, so one can only keep clothing layers handy and hope for the best when travelling at night. Her Jack Russell Terrier, Feather, thoroughly examines the tree for all its information, and then leaves a tinkled guest book listing of her own. Meaghan’s mind drifts to the baking she plans to do when she arrives at Tenyjah and Santos’ home. Tenyjah’s apartment will be filled with Egyptian masks and prints, collections began when she was only nine. Despite the fact that they’d never talked much about it, she knows Tenyjah would be perfectly happy to sit in a lab and decode hieroglyphics.
Meaghan’s Plymouth cruises down the west Texas highway. The desert stretches forth with wailing winds and tumbleweeds.
Sarah misses Meaghan, but she’s glad to hear from her on the road. The holiday finds them both travelling, together in so many private ponderings, yet apart. Sarah thinks of her dogs; Spanky and G-Whiz are groomed, updated on shots, tucked away at the kennel miles behind her in Chattanooga. Sarah wishes her daughter were beside her, and they were both in Meaghan’s Plymouth, taking turns driving the country to visit Sarah’s oldest daughter in Los Angeles. She glimpses the archway as the bus rolls slowly away from St. Louis, a light blinking hello above the river as Missouri beckons. She’s thankful the Greyhound is not stopped in a terminal like the hour she spent in Nashville; no more stops, children and conversations wind down, lights go out down the aisle as the highway hums.
Meaghan doesn’t want to spend the holiday with her mom---not even with her sister Molly, or Brian and KayaČ. They would simply have to understand, though she loves them: a woman needs to feel a direction, such as she simply can't find waiting for a holiday to end. She doesn't feel the holidays, that consumer-driven checklist of perfect, taunting domestic images.
What present would matter? She feels her own Santa sack has been lightened by laid-off elves, herself included. What present could she long for, more than some kind of certainty, a path, a job, a home of her own, and healing?
A house, they say, is not a home; a place to dwell might seem a hell.
She doesn’t want to spend the holidays so sad over her dad dying, and Roderick and Ned have invited her to come out to Texas a few days. At least the air is easier to breathe, driving in this direction. Will she go on to New Mexico from there? Open doors with a couple of friends; nothing worse than the nowhere rut she’s left behind. Even with her mother paying the bills and providing her a room, sharing a computer, her own way without direction or request--- there was no solace in that security, no answers in her home town. Even now, spending Christmas at Ned's Mom's house is a transient measure at best; Roderick will never stop trying to get them back together, in a relationship which belongs to a heart which has since been displaced.
The days pass. The road continues.
Not long after Sarah leaves Dallas, she’s disrupted from her sleep. She finds herself surprised to have been sleeping again; it seems the last trip was filled with so many conversations. It was much like the fellow on the way to Yuma had said some miles back: “after travelling on the road together so many miles and sharing crackers and conversation, it’s like we’re all family.”
That had certainly been true on her previous trips. She reflects: is it a change in the circumstances, or a recent change in herself?
(part two: coldest winter, tomorrow)